Their Christmas Day games may be the biggest gift, but the NBA also does great things on Martin Luther King Day. As always, the NBA scheduled a full day of nationally televised games for both those watching from the couch as well as us office drones. And at this particular moment in our nation’s history, it’s hard to think of a better person to celebrate than a man who bridged hateful divides with unfailing grace and composure.
The NBA’s national TV schedule may be a little lighter this week, but there’s still a gaggle of great games. Check out the weekly ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV schedules below (postponed games can also be found at the end of this column). NBA fanatics can sign up for Sling Orange + Blue with Sports Extra and add NBA team and league passes using the link at the bottom of this page.
NBA National TV Schedule Jan. 19-25
|DATE||TIME (ET)||ROAD TEAM||HOME TEAM||NATIONAL TV|
|Tue, Jan 19||9:00 PM||New Orleans Pelicans||Utah Jazz||NBA TV|
|Wed, Jan 20||7:00 PM||Boston Celtics||Philadelphia 76ers||ESPN|
|Wed, Jan 20||9:30 PM||Phoenix Suns||Houston Rockets||ESPN|
|Thu, Jan 21||7:30 PM||Los Angeles Lakers||Milwaukee Bucks||TNT|
|Thu, Jan 21||10:00 PM||New Orleans Pelicans||Utah Jazz||TNT|
|Fri, Jan 22||5:30 PM||Boston Celtics||Philadelphia 76ers||ESPN|
|Fri, Jan 22||10:00 PM||Denver Nuggets||Phoenix Suns||ESPN|
|Sat, Jan 23||5:00 PM||Golden State Warriors||Utah Jazz||NBA TV|
|Sat, Jan 23||7:30 PM||Miami Heat||Brooklyn Nets||NBA TV|
|Sun, Jan 24||3:30 PM||Toronto Raptors||Indiana Pacers||NBA TV|
|Sun, Jan 24||7:30 PM||Atlanta Hawks||Milwaukee Bucks||NBA TV|
|Mon, Jan 25||7:30 PM||Miami Heat||Brooklyn Nets||NBA TV|
|Mon, Jan 25||10:00 PM||Minnesota Timberwolves||Golden State Warriors||NBA TV|
Upcoming Game of the Week
Los Angeles Lakers at Milwaukee Bucks
Thur. Jan. 21, 7:30pm ET, TNT
This showdown between two of the top teams in their respective conferences feels like a potential Finals preview. With a league-best 11-4 record, the Lakers picked up where their championship season left off; their +10.2 point differential is tops in the league. Although they were humbled by the Nets' new supersquad on Monday, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks still look like one of the top teams in the East, and they'll no doubt be eager to put LeBron James and the Lakeshow on notice in this primetime matchup.
Sling TV Performance of the Week
As we noted last week, Nuggets center Nikola Jokić is off to a historic start this season and he notched his fifth triple-double of the year (23 pts, 14 reb and 10 ast) in his team’s 114-104 win over Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors last Thursday on TNT.
Dunk of the Week
Zion Williamson makes his first appearance of the season in this space, and it’s hard to imagine it will be his last. The clip above labels his dunk over Sacramento’s Chimezie Metu “ruthless.” The word I would use is vicious. The way announcer Mark Jones reacts, you’d think he just saw a man get knifed.
Smart Choice Assist of the Week
We’re big fans of the in-bound alley-oop around these parts and the heads up play between Hawks’ young bucks Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish is a beautiful example of the form. As an added bonus, Reddish earned a trip to the charity stripe on the dunk.
LOL of the Week
After Nikola Jokić’s aforementioned Sling TV Performance of the Week, America’s biggest goofball (literally) Shaquille O'Neal ended his interview with a friendly “dosvedanyia.” The problem is, Joker is Serbian, not Russian. Nyet good.
Wed. Jan 20
Washington at Charlottle
Memphis at Portland
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